Jo has expressed concern that Muse Developments may again be looking to back out of an agreement to provide community facilities in their redevelopment of Bishopbriggs Town Centre.
At a meeting of East Dunbartonshire Council’s planning board yesterday evening, Councillors agreed to a proposal by Muse Developments to drop a condition that would oblige them to keep the sports hall on the former Bishopbriggs Academy standing until a detailed planning application has been approved.
The condition was added by Provost Eric Gotts in response to local concern at plans to demolish the hall, but Muse asked for the condition to be replaced with a legal agreement that the development must include a community facility with meeting rooms, a café and office space. This would allow the developers to demolish the sports hall and replace it with a new facility.
Although a group of local volunteers has drawn up a detailed business plan to run the existing school hall as a community facility, Muse has said it does not believe the plan is viable.
Commenting, Jo said:
“At every stage in the process, Muse have tried to go back on their original promise to keep the sports hall standing, to be run as a community facility. I am concerned that their seeking this change in the agreement with the Council may be yet another attempt to wriggle out of their responsibilities to the community.
“If this new agreement represents a genuine offer by Muse to provide a new facility then it may be a significant benefit to Bishopbriggs, although it is unfortunate that the decision had to be made quickly just a few days before Christmas. The Council must ensure that the developers consult widely with local people before the final plans are submitted.
“The Council must also ensure that the final plan from the developers contains good quality facilities which will be delivered on time and be a strong asset for the community.”
Condition 51, which was added when the Council gave outline planning permission for the development in October, stated:
That the sports hall building should be retained until the applicant has clearly identified through a detailed planning consent the community uses and the buildings they require, to ensure the full potential of community uses is realised on this site.
This will now be replaced with a Section 75 legal agreement stating that the development must include a facility, subject to confirmation of demand and operational resourcing, which would provide:-
• a meeting facility to accommodate 150 people;
• a community café;
• small meeting rooms for special interest groups;
• offices suitable for a range of “surgeries”